British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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Feb. 5.]                         SCAMBLING DAYS.                                 95
P. Le Neve Foster, Esq., who in 1835 held the rectorial tithes of the parish of Great Witchingham, under a lease from the warden and fellows of New College, Oxford, was bound by a covenant contained therein, to provide and distribute to and amongst the poor inhabitants and parishioners, two seams of peas, containing in all sixteen bushels. The practice has been to give to every person who happens to be in the parish on Ash Wednesday, whether rich or poor, one quart of peas each.Old English Customs and Charities, 1842, p. 34.
The days so called were Mondays and Saturdays in Lent, when no regular meals were provided, and the members of our great families scambled. In the old household-book of the fifth Earl of Northumberland there is a particular section appointing the order of service for these days, and so regulating the licentious contentions of them. Shakespeare, in his play of Henry V. (act v. scene 2), makes King Henry say: " If ever thou be'st mine, Kate, I get thee with scambling, and thou must therefore needs prove a good soldier-breeder." The word scamblinq is conjectured to be derived from the
"The scambling and unquiet time."
Shak. Henry F. act i. sc. 1.
Med. AEvi Kalend. vol. ii. p. 350. Antiq. BeperL 1809, vol. iv. pp. 87, 91, 305.
Feb. 5.]                      Gloucestershire.
In Smith's MS. Lives of the Lords of Berkeley, in the possession of the Earl of Berkeley (p. 49), we read that on the anniversary of the founder of St. Augustine's, Bristol, i.e.,
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